Aristotle's Relationship Between Art And Reality

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Question 1 Everyone thinks I am in love with reality, whereas actually I detest it. It was in hatred of realism that I undertook this book. But I equally despise the false brand of idealism...’ Flaubert, qtd in P. Bourdieu, The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field, trans. S. Manuel (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995) The (im)possibility of mimetic representation has been debated for centuries. Discuss the relationship between art, representation and reality in reference to at least two thinkers. Plato makes a very clear statement on his ideas of the relationship between art and reality. For him art is imitation, he provides us with an example in The Republic book X, where he divides reality in three different…show more content…
Aristotle worked out the theory of mimesis in Poetics further, he made a distinction between the medium that was used for a representation, the manner of the representation and the way the representation held aspects of the reality of life. Aristotle different from his teacher did see the value of art in the position it held in life itself. In Poetics he focusses mainly on poetry as a form of art, in it he says actors either portray things as they are, things how we want them to be or how we think things are. We can then make the argument that mimesis is not based on historical accuracy. Like Aristotle says himself ‘ it is the function of a poet to relate not things that have happened, but things that may happen’(95). This means a poets skill lies in his ability to mimic probable human behaviour, he is creating a world of fantasy. For Aristotle poetry is indeed a representation of life, in it a reality is formed that is based on probability. Different from Plato, Aristotle does seem value in art, in Poetics he makes clear that for him poetry is an art form presenting life in an ideal form. It is an ideal form of…show more content…
We can say his favour goes out to historical materialism. The difference between the two is that historicism tends to look at history in singular events, the past here is understood only in relation to itself. Historicism will empathise with the victors, but will not see barbarism in the story, this part of the story is missed since they only look at the isolated event. Historical materialists look at history as multiple layers that fold over one and other, this excludes them from looking at a historical event as a singular event. They will look at everything surrounding the event and make a complete picture, taking barbarism into account. Since ‘cultural treasures … owe their existence not only to the efforts of the great minds and talents who have created them, but also to the anonymous toil of their contemporaries.’ (256, Benjamin) Benjamin beliefs everything that happened in history should be regarded, every major and minor act. He beliefs history should be looked at as a redemptive story and makes clear in his article that historical materialists are the ones who are aware of this and act accordingly. Also named a few times throughout Benjamins article is Marxism, so I thought it would be interesting to see what outlook Marx and Engels have on the concept of

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